Renowned for their cutting edge parties across the UK, Audio Doughnuts are also developing quite a reputation for pushing some excellent new music on their in-house label. Their first offering of 2012 comes courtesy of latest signing 'Benin City', a talented 4-piece band who've already caught the attention of radio heavyweights Giles Peterson and John Kennedy amongst others.
Their debut single, 'Baby' is a gloriously melancholy inner city tale that seems to combine the subtlety of James Blake with genuine story telling magic and makes for a sumptuous listen. A great little remix from LV also features on the single to add depth, along with an acoustic version of the original track. Out on May 30th.
A resident at both 'Sh*t The Bed' and The Heatwave's esteemed nationwide dancehall / bashment party 'Hot Wuk', Bristol's Fire Man Sam is more than at ease with mixing the freshest cuts the genre has to offer and continues to excel in his role as the city's party starter of choice. He is also a capable writer, reviewing bashment, funky and grime for the excellent Trap Magazine to great effect, all of which come together in his latest mix.
Essentially a celebration of bashment in 2012 but laden with funky undertones throughout, Fire Man Sam has put together a great seasonal offering that gives real insight into contemporary Jamaican inspired UK music. Highly recommended.
The first installment of Spooky's forthcoming mix series project 'Spartan Sessions' is comfortably one of the toughest mix offerings I've ever heard. After first listening only last week, my mind harked back to a recent interview I'd done with Dan Gar Dan, himself a technically excellent grime DJ, and an issue he'd raised concerning the substantial lack of grime DJs able to mix the sound competently enough to do it justice; Spooky is the most emphatic of exceptions.
A regular on London's underground airwaves and a big personality to boot, Spooky's magic always lay in his ability to put on a cracking radio show, but since the success of much-lauded club monster 'Spartan' back in 2010, he has developed credible new strings to his bow. Now a valued producer and label owner, he has learnt how to promote himself too; Spartan Sessions is the latest in a line of projects that have helped solidify his underground status.
Although there are some obvious and unavoidable similarities with radio material, Spartan Sessions marks an incredible journey through contemporary grime music. Although still raw, it manages to balance grime's stylistic sub-cultures well and doesn't rely too heavily on any one aspect of the contemporary sound. Also applaudable is the sheer variety of producers on show; heavyweights Preditah and Faze Miyake share equal stage with up-and-comers Swifta Beater, K1 and the exceptionally versatile Moony. The inclusion of a number of Spooky's self-titled 'myths', tracks re-fixed to maximize impact, is also a feature of note too, with Preditah's 'Nosy Parker' / 'Circles' and Faze Miyake's 'Take Off' particularly dominant in the opening stages.
Marcus Nasty and Funk Butcher's collaborative work from their recent 'Nasty Butcher' EP is perhaps the most surprising inclusion, alongside Moony's 'All I Do is 138 DJ', a wonderful blend of two of Zinc's early garage classics '138 Trek' and 'Go DJ'. Both provide welcome diversions in and amongst the heavier cuts but take little away from the overriding hard-hitting delivery. The mix is finished off in typically bruising style by Deset's 'Crisis', a track released on Spooky's 'Ghost House' imprint late last year.
Whilst quintessentially a wonderful snapshot of grime in 2012, light-hearted Spartan Sessions is most certainly not. It will surely find favour amongst purists as opposed to fans of the genre's more contemporary side but taking nothing away from Spooky, this is grime at it's purest, rawest and most evocative; whilst it may not be everybody's cup of proverbial tea, it is the truest reflection of what is still the UK's most exciting sound.
Promising stateside imprint Slit Jockey has been pushing cutting edge grime since 2005 and their latest release is a testament to their intricate knowledge of the UK underground climate. Having released records from in house producers Dev 79, El Carcinero and the impeccably talented Starkey, whom himself has made decent impressions on Butterz, Slit Jockey are not shy at nurturing new talent, as well as creating new avenues for the more established. J Sweet, esteemed grime veteran, is a firm advocate having released twice with the label, whilst emerging gems Numan and most recently Mella Dee, one half of lauded garage / house duo Mista Men, have both been recruited.
Their latest release comes from the latter, with Mella Dee's 'Don't Be Nesh' EP taking Slit Jockey's catalog to an impressive 25 records in a little under 7 years. The EP itself is a fresh as could be expected with Mella Dee demonstrating all the right credentials, uniting the traditional 8 bar sound with his own distinct palette to great effect.
Opener 'Don't Be Nesh' is a bold, archetypal grime instrumental with a strong bass line and gritty, sinister sampling throughout that sets the tone well for what is to come. Second track V.I.P, is more dance floor friendly, with seasoned vet Slick Don providing a welcome, catchy vocal that echos Jammer's 'Back to the 90s' somewhat. Gritty (South Yorks) switches up yet again, a track more representative of the early Eski sound whilst Pie & Peas is more current and experimental in the Starkey sense - innovative but still identifiable within the ever expanding grime bracket. The EP is rounded off by the punchy V.I.P instrumental which sounds equally as fresh without Slick Don's vocal.
In essence then, Don't Be Nesh ticks all the boxes required to warrant it being a a more than competent grime EP and certainly highlights Mella Dee's considerable talent and versatility on the buttons. There is scope for refinement, but all the signs are in place to suggest Mella could be the next breakthrough producer from outside of London if granted the right exposure. As for Slit Jockey, they deserve huge credit for giving emerging artists a much needed platform. Top marks all round.
Don't Be Nesh is set for release on May 14th and will be available to purchase from all good digital outlets.
After a hugely successful debut night only last month, Champion's Formula Records stable are back with their second label knees up on May 23rd at East Village.
Headlining on the night will be Champion himself, playing a never before seen back to back set with funky kingpins Funkystepz. Legendary garage virtuoso Sticky is also on hand along with Butterz head honchos Elijah and Skilliam and the line-up is completed by the multi-talented D.O.K, fresh from playing at Hyperdub's latest warehouse party. Best thing of all? It's totally free.
Formula Records Presents:
Champion b2b Funkystepz w/ Serious One
Elijah and Skilliam
89 Great Eastern Street
You can check out Champion's exclusive promo mix for the night too!
The latest installment in the Sonic Router x Uncle Albert mix series sees renowned selector Mumdance take to the decks to provide an exclusive 60-minute mix. Expect the best in bass, funky and grime cut up in unique fashion ahead of his forthcoming album.